Pesto Mac & Cheese

 

Rain has been our frequent visitor these past few days. Today, work was suspended due to a typhoon forecast so I made sure to prepare something comforting for lunch. A baking dish filled with ooey, gooey pesto mac & cheese was what I had in mind!

From the past week, I had some leftover pesto (recipe here) and blocks of assorted cheese from an event (which I will write about soon!) and I knew I had a freezer bag of leftover roast chicken. TIP: shred and freeze leftover roast chicken in case of emergencies and use bones to make homemade chicken stock.

This dish is similar to your Sunday casserole, where everything but the kitchen sink is thrown in. I'm always happy to make recipes that use up leftovers into an absolutely elevated dish. Much like this Pesto Mac & Cheese recipe, flavors are familiar and yet simply unique.

P.S. My little critic, also known as Sancho said it was really good! That made me smile. =)


Pesto Mac & Cheese

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 4 cups whole milk
  • 1/4 cup homemade pesto
  • Half a roasted chicken, shredded
  • 400g fusilli
  • 1/2 cup Gouda cheese, grated
  • 1/4 cup + 2 Tbsp. parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1/4 cup sharp cheddar cheese, grate
  • 1/2 cup mozarella cheese, grated
  • 1/3 cup japanese bread crumbs
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Drizzle oil into a large pot of boiling salted water. Add the fusilli and cook according to the directions on the package, 6 to 8 minutes. Drain well.
  3. Melt butter in a large pot and add the flour. Cook over low heat for 2 minutes, stirring with a whisk. While whisking, add the hot milk and cook for a minute or two more, until thickened and smooth. Off the heat, add the Gruyere, Cheddar, mozarella and 1/4 cup parmesan cheese, pesto, salt and pepper, to taste. Add the cooked macaroni and shredded chicken, stir well. Pour into a 3-quart baking dish.
  4. Combine the Japanese bread crumbs and 2 Tbsp. parmesan cheese, and sprinkle on the top. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the sauce is bubbly and the macaroni is browned on the top.